(The setting: Heaven’s karaoke room. There’s a Man onstage. He’s quite into His performance, grabbing the mike and Chuck Berry-hopping as He thunders, “Whoooa, what’s luck got to do, got to do with it?” and then, “Luck, uh-huh, what is it good for? Absolutely nothin’ – ” At this, he holds the mike out towards the angels in the audience, and they all bow before Him and sing, “Say it again!” Which He does.)
Serendipity is defined as “an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident, good fortune, or luck.” If that’s the case, then a person going after God with all of his/her might cannot experience serendipity. Why? Because “The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.” (NLT) Luck simply doesn’t factor into it at all.
In an interesting twist, though not a serendipitous one, the root of the word “serendipity” is the Sanskrit word Simhaladvipa, which literally translates to “Dwelling-Place-of-Lions Island.” Hello! Who is THE Lion? His name is Jesus, and He dwells in the midst of our desirable discoveries! In fact, He orchestrates them and soooo enjoys when we uncover them. With that in mind, let’s revisit serendipity’s definition and update it to better reflect what we experience as His people:
Aptitude: capability, readiness, quickness, predilection, proclivity, bent, gift. Whichever synonym you like, it’s a good thing. We have the capability to make desirable discoveries, the readiness to, the quickness to, the predilection (tendency), etc. Of course we do. He put that in us! He desires for us to see life as a series of adventures: joyful, loud, sometimes messy experiences ripe with new knowledge to acquire. We are made for this!
Desirable: Sometimes the experiences aren’t so much fun on the surface, and we struggle to find the good. Let me help you not to struggle with this anymore: What is desirable is the Godly character traits that are defined, honed in us through the experience. Even when we make choices outside what God would will for us, and even when it seems the enemy has gained the upper hand, the Lord promises us beauty for ashes (one of the most vividly descriptive phrases in the Bible, in my opinion), promises that He will take what the enemy designed for harm and make it good. The promise is true; the lie of instant gratification and/or results is not.
Discoveries: Sometimes this is the fun stuff, like when a verse leaps off the pages of your Bible and you get major revelation which you never saw in the eight million other times you read that verse. Or like when you lay hands on a sick person, and she’s healed – you discover how awesome it is to partner with God to accomplish His will in the here and now. Sometimes the discoveries come on the heels of the not-so-fun experiences, like when everything that can be shaken in your life is being shaken, and at the end you discover that you’re still standing and your faith has grown because you have recognized the hand of God holding you up.
Accident, good fortune, or luck: No, no, and no. By design. By perfect, incomparable, divine plan. This is our destiny in Christ.
So our more accurate definition of serendipity reads something like this: Our purposefully-designed tendency to uncover amazing and valuable treasures and ideas fashioned by the hand of God specifically for us.
That is just so much better; don’t you think? 😉
(Much later, though HOW much later is unclear since Heaven exists outside the realms of time, the Man walks over to the side of the stage, asks a woman at a well for a drink of water, and opens a door in the floor of the stage. He leans down toward the tiny Earth that can be seen far below and roars in a loud, loud voice: “Plenty of Sonshine coming your way…it’s the truth! It’s actual! Everything is satisfactual! Zippity doo-dah, zippity ay, wonderful feeling, wonderful day!” All over the Earth, His children stop what they’re doing, raise their eyes to the sky, and smile.